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Google Chrome launches crackdown on data-tracking cookies — What you need to know

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Google has initiated testing of significant changes aimed at enhancing online user privacy by disabling third-party cookies in its Chrome browser, BBC reported. 

These cookies, small files stored on users’ devices to collect analytic data, personalise online ads, and monitor browsing, will be deactivated through a new feature.

The initial rollout of this privacy feature will be available to approximately 1% of global Chrome users, encompassing around 30 million individuals.

 Google labels these changes as a trial run, with plans for a complete elimination of cookies later in the year. Despite the company’s commitment to privacy, some advertisers are expressing concerns about potential negative impacts on their operations.

Google’s Chrome browser, currently the most widely used globally, is taking this step while competitors like Apple’s Safari and Mozilla Firefox, although accounting for less internet traffic, have already incorporated options to block third-party cookies.

In a blog post, Anthony Chavez, Google’s Vice President, emphasised the company’s responsible approach to phasing out third-party cookies in Chrome. He explained that users would be randomly prompted to choose whether they want to “browse with more privacy.” Additionally, if a website encounters issues without third-party cookies, users may receive an option to temporarily re-enable them for that specific site.

While Google asserts its commitment to making the internet more private, many websites rely on cookies for advertising revenue. Cookies record various user data, including site interactions, geographic location, device details, and subsequent online activities. Some users find personalised ads generated through these cookies intrusive.

Phil Duffield, UK Vice President at The Trade Desk, a platform for online ad purchases, criticised Google’s solution, the Chrome Privacy Sandbox, suggesting it primarily benefits Google. He argued that safeguarding consumer privacy should not hinder publishers’ revenue streams and urged the advertising industry to collectively develop better alternatives.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority retains the authority to block Google’s plans if it determines potential harm to other businesses.

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Users of WhatsApp will soon be able to lock chats on connected devices.

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Additionally, linked devices will now have access to the conversation lock feature. Users of WhatsApp will also soon have the option to tag their contacts in status updates.

Notably, WhatsApp users can link their devices to log in to the same account on different devices. However, several functions, such as conversation locks and status updates, are not accessible on the secondary devices.

Even if they are locked on the main conversations, anybody can still access your private chats on a connected device. WhatsApp is currently working on adding Chat Lock capability to connected devices in order to address this.

The chat lock feature on WhatsApp will soon be available on connected devices.

Prior to this, it was claimed that WhatsApp, which is owned by Meta, was developing new personalisation options for an iOS beta.

According to WABetaInfo, an update tracker portal for the instant messaging network, WhatsApp for iOS users will soon get the option to modify both the conversation bubble’s colour and the app’s primary colour scheme.

A feature that let beta testers choose the primary colour scheme of the WhatsApp iOS app from a selection of five colours was first tested back in January.

The instant messaging app is testing a feature that lets users change the colour of chat bubbles within conversations, though, in a new beta edition.

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Moon train operations are planned by NASA.

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The goal is to construct the first lunar train system, which will enable safe, independent, and effective cargo transportation on the moon, according to robotics specialist Ethan Schaler of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

He went on, “The day-to-day functioning of a sustainable lunar base in the 2030s will depend heavily on a robust, long-lasting robotic transport system.”

The Flexible Levitation on a Track, or FLOAT, is the name of the proposed lunar rail system. According to NASA, the establishment of a railway system on the moon is “critical to the daily operations.”

According to the space agency, the primary objective of FLOAT is to offer transportation services in regions of the moon where astronauts are engaged in activities. To do this, cargoes of lunar soil and other materials will need to be transported to various regions of the moon.

Each robot will be able to transport cargo of various sizes and shapes at a pace of roughly 1 mph (1.61 km/h), according to Dr. Schaler.

Notably, NASA also declared new initiatives last month to create and test new vehicle models intended for moon exploration.

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Pakistan’s lunar mission ‘ICUBE-Q’ reaches the moon orbit.

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Pakistan’s lunar mission (ICUBE-Q) entered orbit around the moon on Wednesday.

Pakistan’s historic lunar mission (ICUBE-Q) launched from Hainan, China, on Friday aboard China’s Chang’E6 spacecraft.

According to the IST, the satellite ICUBE-Q was planned and developed in partnership with China’s Shanghai University SJTU and Pakistan’s national space agency SUPARCO.

The ICUBE-Q orbiter is equipped with two optical cameras to image the lunar surface. ICUBE-Q has now been integrated into the Chang’e6 mission after successfully qualifying and testing it.

Chang’e6 is the sixth lunar exploration mission launched by China.

The launch event was streamed live on the IST website and social media platforms. Chang’6, China’s Lunar Mission, will land on the Moon’s far side to collect surface samples before returning to Earth for further research.

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